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The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
January 29, 2015 12:00 pm

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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January 29, 2015 12:00 pm

NC Family president John Rustin talks with Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in Washington, DC, about H.R. 36–the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a major piece of federal legislation aimed at banning abortions after 20 weeks.

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This is family policy matters program is produced by the North Carolina family policy Council of profamily research and education organization dedicated to strengthening and preserving the family and elf in the studio.

Here's John Rushton, president of the North Carolina family policy Council, thank you for joining us this week for family policy matters. We are pleased to have Douglas Johnson as our special guest Douglas is legislative director for national right to life committee donations oldest and largest pro-life organization with 50 state affiliates, and nearly 3000 local chapters across the United States is been credited by national review."

The most effective lobbyist in Washington DC and is credited with crafting the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.

Douglas is with us today to talk about a critical piece of legislation currently pending before the U.S. Congress. The pain capable unborn child protection act or HR 36 Douglas, welcome to the program. Well, it's great to have you with us Douglas and we appreciate so much the great work that you do and for you taking time out of what we know is a very busy schedule to be with us today.

Now tell us about the pain capable unborn child protection act and its purpose right to life and accident states pain capable unborn child protection act currently advocating would protect unborn children, generally from all that boring beginning at 20 weeks file, which is about the beginning of the six-month it does so on the basis of the science that at least by this point of development the unborn child will experience great pain during the process of aborting. We believe that this is an approach to US springboard would be likely to accept. We would like to have broader protections.

We recognize that, regrettably, a majority of the US Supreme Court justices are not yet prepared to allow very sweeping protections that the earlier stages of the child's development. Now HR 36 is based on national right to life model legislation that has been enacted in several states this for how many states are likely to consider similar bills this year. There are perhaps four or five or so that are considered this year, including South Carolina. There is a bill moving forward in the South Carolina legislature that we are hopeful about, and then we have the federal bill which is under active duration these bills is a lot of resistance from the abortion industry.

Powerful political actors. This is a short-term project.

This is something that we need to get the attention of the American people. The public is very much on our side. The bills language HR 36 includes congressional findings that recognize a vast body of research showing that unborn babies at this stage of development are capable of experiencing pain in the reference that already tell us more about some of the research that inspired the bill. Well, there's a great deal of research which we have on our talking about six months later were talking about very well-developed children and that the most common abortion method used at this stage involves literally carrying arms and legs off by brute force with with special surgical instruments. Now you know even with negative technical scientific papers. Everybody is read any number of stories about how the unborn children at this stage respond to different forms of stimuli and how they respond to music of a recognize and respond other mother's voice and so forth. And yet pro-abortion advocates who would have us believe that those same unborn children at the same stage of development are insensible. When arms and legs are torn off by brute force.

We think that that claim should engender considerable skepticism there even half hospitals in this country now for some years in which surgery is performed in the uterus on babies who have certain problems at the same stage late in the later part of the second trimester pregnancy and these surgeons amassed the size of the unborn child before they proceed with the different repairs and interventions that they do they have to do that because the unborn child will otherwise recoil from the surgical instrument. Well, this is an extremely important measure and what one of the frustrating things that we've experienced in the last week or so with this proposal before the Congress is that the bill HR 36 was scheduled to come before the house in an historic vote on January 22 which was the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court wrote the way decision but also the same day that the annual March for life took place in Washington DC, to the dismay of many of those gathered in our nations capital and many others across the nation, HR 36 was withdrawn from consideration by the U.S. House the night before it was scheduled to come up before vote. Tell us what happened that resulted in the house pulling this bill well extraordinary series of the bill actually passed the house in 2013, with the support of the vast majority of Republicans and some Democrats as well. We were on track to have it passed by an even larger majority and suddenly there was a campaign within the House of Representatives and within the public media that was launched against bringing the bill up and there were several ringleaders you may say, but the one I regret to report. It was the most prominent in the public media was Congresswoman Rene Elmers from North Carolina and she gave interview after interview in which she severely criticized the very concept of bringing up such a bill. She said it would alienate millennial's, which is a term being used for people who are between the ages of 18 and 29.

I believe I don't know why she thought that because the polls show that that age group is even more overwhelmingly in support of this type of policy than the general population is about 59 or 60% of that age group.

As I recall in the polls.

But anyway, she said this was a bad idea. She said quote we should not be looking back in history we should be looking forward" and in context you saying we should be dealing with other issues not with this type of legislation. She severely criticized language in the bill that set although you generally can't get an abortion after 20 weeks you can get one for mother's life is at stake, but it also says if there is a rape and abortion can still be performed if that rape has been reported to law enforcement agencies, and she severely criticized that reporting requirement. We think of this makes sense to most people. If someone is coming in in the sixth month of pregnancy or later and saying that there was a crime that occurred at some distant point in the past that there should be.

That requirement, the campaign conducted with within the house was successful in resolving in the building delayed at least set aside when it was supposed to have been passed and would've been passed otherwise. On 22 January so this is very disappointing to us. We think that it's very regrettable that people who had said that they would support this bill who had pledged they would supported and communications with their constituents, then reneged on those pledges well and as we reported on our website both on the Wednesday and Thursday did all this was going on. We were extremely concerned with what was taking place.

We contacted Congresswoman Elmers office multiple times to try to get a better understanding of what was going on and was told similar to what you conveyed that she had concerns about certain provisions in this bill dealing with the requirement to report rape and incest that resulted in pregnancy and the woman who was pregnant was seeking a later term abortion, but it seemed like these these concerns and efforts just sort of snowballed into situation that calls the house leadership to decide to pull the bill which was incredibly unfortunate. And one thing I would point out as well. Is that another North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Fox from our house district was actually the one who was handling the bill or the rules relating to how the bill would be handled on the floor. She was presiding over those procedures on Wednesday and then presided over the house on Thursday when they ended up taking up another pro-life bill so much that I was just about the Congressman Fox played a very constructive role in moving this bill forward and there were others as well. This was not the case of every woman against it, but there was a group that had previously voted for exactly the same language 2013 and not expressed these objections had pledged their constituents that they would supported again in the new Congress suddenly came out and took these actions which were directly contrary those commitments extremely unfortunate. I think those who have a concern with positioning to express himself to Congresswoman Elmers every other Republican in the North Carolina delegation cosponsored the bill and the need Elmers cosponsored it, but then she took a very unusual public action of going to the house floor and withdrawing her cosponsorship so that a lobbyist for one of the chief pro-abortion organizations, quoted in one of the newspapers the day after saying this was a wonderful gift Congresswoman Emil Elmers gave the abortion industry. A wonderful gift. Well, it was a very concerning and frustrating thing to see what happens now Douglas with HR 36. The pain capable bill.

What do you see as that the timeframe on the possibility that bill coming up before the house again.

It's just impossible to say the abortion lobby Planned Parenthood, NARAL groups of that type are fermentable in their own right, but then when you have people behind your online so to speak, to suddenly launch an attack.

It's got take us from time to regroup from this. We do believe that there is still a solid majority in the house that must pass this bill. We believe the language in the bill is the right language. If somebody thinks they have an authentic idea for improving it.

They are free to propose it, although it's unfortunate they didn't do so anytime over the last two years because I want to repeat one more time. The bill that Congresswoman Elmers and the others suddenly raised objections to it exactly word for word the same bill that they voted to pass on June 18, 2013 so these objections were late in coming.

They were launched at a very inopportune time in a very damaging time for the pro-life cause, and we're happy to try to put the pieces back together but were by no means not to give up on the partial-birth abortion that it took us eight years we had that bill vetoed twice. We had a one adverse Supreme Court decision that we finally got all the way through the process and got up to the Supreme Court again and they upheld it in a landmark decision in 2007 there's tremendous resistance on this issue that we are making progress and we should appreciate the support of people North Carolina all around the country who tirelessly worked for the pro-life, and that we have on our finest affiliates in north Carolina life, Barbara (who runs an organization is a real dynamo and people like that all across the country who work here in an ear out for this cause. And that's why we continue to have the support of a great great number of Americans and we continue to make progress in public policy.

Grateful for all that you do and also our partnership with Mark on right to life, and Barbara Holt. We worked tirelessly side-by-side town in the legislature and in other ways to promote life policies in North Carolina and consider north Carolina right to life to be a a incredibly important partner in in those efforts. Well, I know a lot of our listeners.

Douglas extremely interested and they understand the importance of legislation like the pain capable unborn child protection act and they are staunchly pro-life and are likely wondering what they can do please talk about what our listeners can do to help ensure that HR 36 has a hearing before Congress and working they go to learn more about the bill and about the work at national right to life committee is doing to promote this legislation in the US Congress public website and RLC for national right to life North Carolina right to life website. It's also important that people communicate directly with their elected representatives. Both state legislature and in the Congress course the most important communications that that occurs directly between a constituent in his or her own representative and Senators, but there are occasions when it might be appropriate to communicate with others and I think that because Congresswoman Elmers taken the role here in derailing a major piece of national pro-life legislation would be quite appropriate for people anywhere in the state he would have strong views on that to communicate with her and her her agents about that matter. And this does have an effect that the people who are in office. They may have their own views on things.

But if their constituents are heard loud and clear on a matter that usually does prevail in the end we are out of town for this week, thank you so much for being with us today on family policy matters and for your continued work at the national right to life committee's family policy matters is information and analysis teacher of the North Carolina family policy Council known as weekly discussion on policy issues affecting the family you have questions or comments, please contact 91 907-0800 visit our website and

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